Red White Green Timpano

I have been wanting to make this masterpiece for years.

When I first discovered Food ‘n Flix, it was like a tumble of dominoes – I decided to participate, I signed up to host a month, I knew I would pick one of my very favorites – Big Night, and there was no doubt I would take on the timpano.

If you have seen the movie, you know the timpano is to be the main attraction to the evening – they make two of these timpanos, saving one for the guest of honor, Louis Prima!

This was a two day process. The first day I prepared all the sauces, a red, a white and a green, with the thought that I would layer it in the colors of the Italian flag! I also boiled eggs as that was part of the recipe in the movie. Jason made an Italian meatball.

The second day, I cooked the pasta for the filling, prepared a pizza dough for the crust, assembled and cooked.


makes 1 large dome – serves 12-24, depending on serving size

1 large oven proof bowl (I used an 8 quart stainless steel)
2 portions pizza dough (or use fresh pasta)
2 pounds cooked ziti, divided into thirds
1 cup basil pesto
2 cups fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups Alfredo sauce/white sauce
3 hard boiled eggs
2 cups marinara sauce
meatballs (optional, or sub half faux balls as I did – making half vegetarian, half for Jason)

Step by step:

Generously butter inside of large ovenproof bowl.

Roll one large circle using both portions of pizza/pasta dough, or roll two separate circles.

Line buttered bowl with dough, leaving extra dough hanging off bowl or as a second piece to add later.

Combine 1/3 of cooked ziti with basil pesto and spinach – add to the bowl as the first layer.

Combine another 1/3 of cooked ziti with Alfredo sauce, add to bowl as second layer.

Cut hard boiled eggs in half, press into this middle layer, the white layer. 

Combine the final 1/3 cooked ziti with the red sauce, add to bowl as third and final layer.

Add meatballs to this final layer.

Fold over dough/add second circle of dough and seal. 

Here is the visual step by step:

animated gif maker

Preheat oven to 350. Cover with tin foil, bake covered for 45 minutes. Remove tin foil and continue to bake another 45-60 minutes.

*Important! Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour before cutting!*

When ready to remove from bowl, place serving platter/dish on top of bowl and flip over! It should come right out if you followed the other very important step of buttering the bowl VERY well. 

Store remaining portions covered in refrigerator, reheating in oven is preferred (the crust crisps in the oven).

Aside from removing the meatballs from my portion, this was amazing! I am so happy the three distinct colors turned out, and having three different flavors was wonderful! I can share the recipes to any and all of my sauces and the meatball.

I plan on making another one of these as soon as I can – this time I will use pasta dough as the shell/crust, and Jason and I have many ideas for delicious flavor combinations. This really is an easy recipe, it just takes many steps and ideally, a couple of days.

I could not have done this without Jason – he helped roll and stretch the pizza dough, and helped me wrestle it into the bowl and more importantly, keep it there.

The day it was in the oven, I had sent out a tweet, something about “sending up a small prayer and crossing my fingers that the Project In My Oven turns out!” … and almost immediately a friend emailed asking about a bun in the oven!?

…so I had to quickly amend that tweet to say that the project was in the literal oven, and it was indeed food 😉



    • spabettie says

      I know, it was delicious – I am already anticipating another – this one will be vegan and I can eat it all! 😀 well, I won’t eat it all, but you know… 😉

    • spabettie says

      I’m glad you liked the flag idea – weeee! This was a fun project for me, and having it end up tasty as well? bonus!

  1. says

    LOL – literal bun in the oven 😉 Two day process? You have so much more patience than me! that IS a masterpiece, to Tina’s comment!!

    • spabettie says

      hee – yep, bun in the oven! 😀 I love projects like this, and doing it over two days, having it all prepped, gives me that patience 😉

  2. says

    Duuuuudddeeeeee, putting two of my favorite foods {pasta and bread} all in one meal sounds like THE most beautiful creation known to man :) I am currently eating my screen but all I am tasting is dust :(

    • spabettie says

      so the screen is clean now, yes? 😉 because I am making a vegan timpano next… I have so many exciting flavors planned for it! 😀

      • HappyAsh says

        Did you ever make the vegan timpano?
        I’d love to hear about, and see what replacements you came up with. I’m dying to try it myself.

  3. says

    The layers are gorgeous! not sure how you did the first pic, but the layers, the close up, the color gradient, the pale/sea green in the background (if you pasted that color in or if that’s really the background…I wanted to learn Photoshop so I could play around but it’s wayyyyy too much for me. Lol)..but beautiful pics & recipe!

    • spabettie says

      thanks, Averie! I used to be a graphic designer for the racquet club I played tennis with, and used photoshop a lot then, but haven’t used it on any photos for this website… this really was just the lighting and the background! :)

    • spabettie says

      yep, that’s next on my list too. I wanted to make a traditional one first, and most of it went to my meat eating family, so… 😉

    • spabettie says

      it IS SO worth it!! and it’s really fun, just prep everything ahead of time and it really isn’t difficult at all… grease/butter the bowl VERY good so it doesn’t stick, and oh, YES you should make one for James!

  4. says

    I have never seen or heard of timpano before, but I am LOVING this dish. What an amazing way to have pasta! I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It’s a pleasure to be following your creations…

    • spabettie says

      I have no objection, thank you SO much – I am honored to be among so many stunning creations! this round up is especially delicious looking! and I have to agree, what an amazing way to have pasta – this was fun and I cannot wait to make another!

  5. says

    This is SO AWESOME! Seriously, I’m in love. I want that bun in MY oven ;P . I don’t think I’m going to be able to stop thinking about this until I’ve made one. It’s such a masterpiece!

    • spabettie says

      see, you know what I mean then… I really have been wanting to make one of these since I first learned about them, many years ago. they really are fun to prepare, if you have a full day and start early or a couple days time… 😀 Heather, get this bun in your oven! 😉

  6. says

    Wow, this looks gorgeous and intense! And like the best sort of project to have in the oven…I hear eating tasty food is much less responsibility than taking care of a baby ;D

  7. Rose says

    This looks absolutely delicious!!! I copied recipe and would love to try it!
    Since I am Italian it reminds me of when I was little and Grandma made a pizza pie!

    • spabettie says

      hi Rose, I hope that you do – it’s a big project with many steps, but not difficult and SO worth it! :)

  8. Melissa says

    This is amazing. I have been sitting here almost drooling and trying to think of a special occasion when I could indulge and make this for myself.

    Then, I just thought… maybe I could make it now with spaghetti squash instead. Then it wouldn’t be quite as unhealthy. I think I am going to try that and see how it works out. At least it will hold me over until I have a reason to treat myself to pizza and pasta in the same meal!! Yum!

    • spabettie says

      I was thinking that too, using spaghetti squash for the filling! Someone else in the comments left a link to her recipe, she uses zucchini strips as the outer ‘shell’ instead of dough! many possibilities for this one!

      • Melissa says

        I had to tell you that we made this with spaghetti squash tonight and it is amazing! It’s not very heavy, which means we can have a larger portion! We just had to make it more flat in a pie pan to keep in from mixing all together, and we added some mozzarella to it as well. Success!

  9. says

    This is so cool! I’d never heard of that before, and couldn’t really figure out what it was when I saw it on photo grazing, but it just looked so…interesting. Very neat. Nice job!

    • spabettie says

      ha, I know Nicole, it has had some funny reception around the web, for sure!

      I had to attempt it at least once, although to be quite honest, I can’t wait to make another one. Healthier this time, and with foods I will eat (even though I do not eat meat, I wanted to make a more traditional recipe the first time – I gave most of it away to family).

  10. says

    I had never heard of timpano either until I watched this unbelievably fantastic film. (I can’t thank you enough for recommending it!) You are a master to have tackled this! Thanks for hosting and I will be shooting you an email soon with my post.

    • spabettie says

      what a fun subject to write a paper on – (you should publish it…?) :) definitely make the timpano – not difficult at all, just many steps!

  11. says

    I’m so impressed that you made the timpano. I thought about it but decided it was too much work for me! 😉 It looks fabulous–love the layers. Thanks again for hosting F’nF this month and selecting one of my very favorite movies. Off to visit the other participants now.

  12. says

    Thanks so much for hosting! This post is what brought FnF to my attention, and Pinterest brought me here. How brave to do the famous timpano – it looks delish!

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      thanks, Ricki! Big Night is a good one, right? One of my favorites too – it never gets old. We had SO much fun making this – I need to do it again!

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